Showing posts by the author Chris Marks

A Merger of Values

A little over 5 years ago, I started Blue Note Ventures with a very clear vision of what I wanted to create – a venture firm that backed leaders who aspired to be authentic, self-aware, transparent, humble, passionate and courageous. Even more importantly, I wanted to model those traits in my relationships with the entrepreneurs I worked with. It was not only a plan for a better life, but what I thought to be a...

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The Series A Balancing Act

By Chris Marks I recently spoke to a cohort of CEOs at GAN’s Scale School about the process of raising a Series A Financing. Everyone in the group had raised seed financing in the past and was focused on follow-on capital. My task was to shed some light on the mentality of a series A investor, and how it may differ from that of an angel or seed investor. An interesting topic. The truth is,...

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This is What Disruption Looks Like

By Chris Marks Over the last 25 years, technology has up-ended numerous industries that were long thought to be untouchable. From publishing to retail, from taxis to hospitality, things are starkly different than they were just a few years ago. During this time, technology has proven to be the great equalizer, wringing out inefficiencies, creating transparency, and leveling the competitive playing field by tapping into the new participation economy. If you look back at how this innovation...

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10 Years of Techstars

By Chris Marks I still remember the first time I talked to David Cohen about getting involved in the Techstars program. It was back in 2007. I made the 4 block trek to see him in his small basement office, sat down across from him, and gallantly offered my services. He looked back, and said something along the lines of, “Cool.” This was followed by a relatively long silence (many would consider this awkward, but...

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The Evolution of a Leader

By Chris Marks Founding a start-up and running a large high growth company are two roles that come with completely different job descriptions. They require different skill sets, different temperaments, and tend to attract different types of people. As a result, it is no surprise that so few early stage entrepreneurs transition to successful large company CEOs. But there are founders who have made the transition. And what they will tell you is that it...

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This Stuff is Hard (w/ Joshua Hunt)

by Chris Marks When I partner with entrepreneurs who are raising venture capital for the first time, I know that I am going to have to help them adjust to a new, and often difficult, environment. Every entrepreneur is optimistic — it comes with the territory — but the fundraising process can be long and disheartening for even the most confident CEOs. I have found that there are two keys for any entrepreneur raising capital: balance and...

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Fighting for Leadership

The punchline of this post is an ask to donate to a very deserving non-profit called Access Opportunity, an organization that is helping build the next generation of leaders. I hope you will take the time to consider their cause. Thanks.


Over the course of the past winter, I found myself dealing with an issue in my prior fund’s portfolio that tested me as an investor, and as a person. As with most things in the start up world, once the problem arose, there was no easy fix. The one thing that was apparent, was that it was going to get worse before it got better. I buckled in, knowing full well what was ahead. Turmoil within a...

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By Chris Marks If the Colorado start-up world can occasionally feel a bit small, the Boulder world can feel downright tiny. Having worked with Colorado start-ups and officed on Pearl Street for over 15 years, I am intimately familiar with the phenomenon of the “Boulder Bubble.” Which is one of the reasons that Turnpikers is such a welcome addition to the local tech scene. Hosted by two Colorado entrepreneurs, Luke Beatty and Danny Newman, Turnpikers features a weekly...

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The Power of a Reboot

By Chris Marks Everyone struggles with being authentic. It comes with the territory — not only when you are part of a start-up, but when you are part of the human race. The world of venture capital is no exception. Recently, I had the honor of discussing this topic with my good friend Jerry Colonna of and Bryce Roberts of OATV and It was a fun and engaging conversation. If you are an entrepreneur...

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Defining Authenticity

By Chris Marks Since launching Blue Note  Ventures, the most common question has been, “how will you know an authentic leader when you see one?” While I’m happy to provide some thoughts on the topic, a couple of clarifications are in order: First, I am not in the business of identifying who is an authentic leader and who is not. Far from it. My goal, and the purpose behind Blue Note Ventures, is to work...

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